The Martha’s Vineyard sailing team raced on Wild Card Weekend for the first time in eight years, Saturday, in Manchester.
At stake was a berth in the New England Team Racing Championships and a shot at the Mark Trophy, which would be a Vineyard first.
Sadly, the Vineyarders came up short.
M.V. led in four of the first five races of the triple round robin series against Manchester/Essex, Portsmouth Abbey (R.I.), and Moses Brown of Providence, but could not hold on.
“They raced extremely well,” coach Andrew Burr said. “They gave themselves a shot in every race. I don’t have any complaints.”
The Vineyarders were strong on the upwind legs but difficult winds wreaked havoc for the Purple on the downwind leg of the “digital N” course.
“The upwind leg is usually the problem, but we had a shifty wind and a massive pulse, which was something different than what we were used to,” coach Burr said. “I was even looking at it [the downward leg] and saying, ‘what would I do?'”
“It was so shifty and there were so many pulses, it was one of the toughest downwinds I’ve ever seen in terms of protecting the lead.”
The Islanders also had to cope with losing many of their most experienced sailors after the morning races due to the evening’s junior prom.
Senior Jesse Thomas and junior Doug Andrade sailed in the afternoon with a passel of freshmen – Eli Hanschka, Zana van Rooyen, Anna Flaherty, Russell Shapiro, and Raz Sayre – who all handled the assignment with aplomb.
Based on their performances, it would seem that the future is bright for Vineyarders.
The Vineyarders will now set their sights on winning the Cape and Islands Championships on June 1-3. The jayvees will sail against Tabor Academy, Barnstable, and Nantucket on Saturday. M.V. raced against Pope John Paul II of Hyannis on Wednesday.